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So, my last build got a fair bit of criticism, and like any good writer, I’m going to take that in stride. My “console killer” build had a few people a little angry at me, so I’m going to try to see if I can build something that might be more to their liking. No, I’m not pandering, I’m taking their points into account, and I’ll be making a new build. Not a console killer, but a “Beginner PC Build” to help save any newcomers money while still letting them play some really awesome games. So let’s see what we can build with less than $400 USD. Let’s make a PC that will save you money, allowing you to spend some money on games rather than having to wait. (Prices are American as usual.)

CPU/APU: AMD A10-5800k  (Amazon)

So in the last build, I said you could get as good performance as consoles with the last APU. Well, some people disagreed with that, and I will say that no, you will not be playing the latest AAA titles on an APU at 1080p, unless you crank the graphics down a lot. If you plan on building this computer or the previous one, I highly recommend that you lower your expectations of what it will play, and instead look at the back catalog of games readily available to PC gamers, such as Half-Life,  Castle Crashers, Quake, Unreal Tournament, Civilization, etc. You might be able to play modern games at 720p with maybe medium settings if you don’t mind 30FPS, but that’s a firm maybe. But, with the money you save with this build, you could pick up a ton of great games to play through. Everyone has a back catalog of games, but if you’re looking for something to play, the PC is past proof.

gigabyte_GA-F2A78M-D3H

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A78M-D3H (Amazon)

This is very similar to the ASRock board in the other build, but with one key difference: more RAM slots. That means we can get dual channel RAM support, which means we can get more aggressive timings on the CAS latency, and with the RAM we’ll be using, it’s very important to have good timings and good clock speeds. And as usual, Gigabyte has all the fixings for a good board, and from my experience, they use good parts and really durable stuff.

RAM: Team Vulcan 2x4GB 2133Mhz (Amazon)

When I saw 2133Mhz RAM for $71 (not on Amazon, sadly), I was actually amazed, and if I was still using an APU system like I was 8 months ago, I’d have grabbed some for myself. Ever since the RAM prices have been going up, it’s really hard to find high speed RAM at less than $90 from what I’ve seen, so I’m glad that RAM prices are going down, which mean build prices go down, which allows for more money for games. Team Vulcan RAM is really good, too, and it’s awesome to see inexpensive RAM com with heatspreaders. (Video, click it)

HDD: Seagate Constellation CS5 1TB (Amazon)

We’re not gonna use a hybrid drive for this build, in order to keep costs low. But playing games from a few years back, you will be fine with the load times with this HDD. If you wanted, you could buy a really cheap SSD, and just slap an OS on it, like Windows, and then get insanely fast boot times, but when I had a 7200RPM drive and an APU system similar to this, my boot times were less than 30 seconds, so you should be fine. Oh, and this drive is usually $190, so I really recommend getting it even if you aren’t buying this whole build. Seriously, everyone should buy this HDD.

evga_500W_PSU

PSU: EVGA 500W 80+ (Amazon)

We’ll use the same PSU from the other build, because it’s inexpensive and will get the job done. It also allows any upgrades, so maybe when you get finished with Half-Life, Half-Life 2, Trine, Civilization, and whatever else you’ve been missing out on, you can get a GPU and play some more modern games.

Case: Fractal Design Core 1100 (Amazon)

A lot of people like Fractal cases, and I like the Core series, personally. They give a lot of good things for such a low price, and the Core 1100 is really nice to work in. You get tons of room, front USB3.0, and an intake fan, so you can probably just use an old 92mm CPU fan and put it as an exhaust. It’s got everything you could possibly need in a decent case, and looks pretty good too.

So after my last build, I took some of the criticism I got and applied it to this one. I want to make one thing clear: THIS IS NOT A COMPUTER FOR EXPERIENCED COMPUTER PEOPLE. If you are considering buying a console or maybe looking at a prebuilt computer, I would instead recommend this. No, you won’t get the graphical performance of the latest consoles, but what you will get is upgrade-ability, a ton of cheap games in a massive backlog, and a fully functional computer. While the newest consoles are as close to a computer as they have ever been, you still can’t get Microsoft Word, Google Chrome/Mozilla Firefox, Linux, Steam, etc on them. If you could, why not just get a computer anyway? They allow controllers, so you wouldn’t need to get rid of your old ones (I play Goldeneye 64 with an N64 controller on my computer). So no, you won’t get amazing graphics with this console, but you know what you will get? The ability to play tons of games, without having to wait until November.

The cost of this build on PCPartPicker is $360.10 USD. Much less than a PS4.

Also, if you’re a console person looking to come over to PC, I really recommend checking out this TekSyndicate video talking about all sorts of stuff.

As always I listen to criticism, and I would like to thank Daniel Pina for giving me something to think about and kind of inspire me to really help newcomers save money but still play great games. I appreciate all comments and all criticism.


Ben Kuyt

Gamer, Computer geek, Musician, Writer. Favourite series are Star Fox, Halo, Battlefield, and Forza. My last name is pronounced kite. Or kout, for the European Football fans.